Lead singer: Cate Cloak (Cathy Clark)
Guitar and vocal: Graham Jones
Guitar and vocal: Bruce Brautigan
Bass and vocal: Ron Lowe
Drums: Jim Hillman
And: Bill Alton, Brian Hunter, Bob Russell, Marc Plouffe, Dennis Faraci
Home Cooking played the Winnipeg bar scene in the early 70's – often at The St. Vital, Village Inn, or The Plaza.
The beginning of the band was with a group of friends living in the old apartment blocks near the Leg - The Castle and Chelsea Court. Bill Alton, Graham Jones and Bruce Brautigan were guitar players moving on from the folk scene. Ron Lowe was looking for an alternative to his day job with Templeton Engineering. Parties featured lots of guitar playing and singing. Dale Russell, who went on to play with Jim Kale’s version of The Guess Who, was a working musician and part of the group of friends. He got a gig in The Pas with Ron and Graham. Other gigs followed with Graham, Bruce, Ron and Bill as Friends. Brian Hunter joined on drums.
Bill's stay in the group was short. He had realized that 3 guitars was one too many, and bought an electric piano. He'd never played piano before and it was a steep learning curve. Bill was in the band when they set up on the top deck of a houseboat and played while cruising the Red River.
Bob Russell replaced Brian on drums. While playing in The Pas, they checked out an all-girls band from Saskatoon playing at another nearby bar. The band featured a soulful lead vocalist, Cathy Clark. Cathy was looking to leave Saskatoon and agreed to join the band, moving to Winnipeg a couple of weeks later. Like everyone else he met, Graham soon gave Cathy a nickname - Cate. (Later, married, she became Cate Cloak).
With Cate’s arrival, it was time for a new name - Home Cooking. Our agent - by this time we were with Frank Weiner of Hungry I – had got us a gig in Grand Forks. All the permits were arranged, but it was too late for us to get one for Cate. At the border, the agent refused to let her in. Somehow we got her back to Winnipeg and on a plane to Grand Forks. But the first night, after the first set, a Customs agent came up to us and told us she had to go. We dragged out our previous sets and finished the week.
We needed a new drummer when Bob Russell was leaving the band. We went to catch a band playing at the Fireplace on Pembina - Fish Belly White. The drummer was Jim Hillman. He agreed to join us. Jim was a good player and a great guy. He also brought an eclectic taste and an R and B influence. Practices were fun, sometimes swapping instruments and jamming. Jim was with us for a year or so and was replaced with Marc Plouffe who gave the bank a rockier personality.
Graham had met Burton Cummings through a mutual friend. On a couple of occasions we all went to his house off Main Street. He had a great music collection. He introduced us to Lambert Hendricks and Ross. He also had something to do with us getting gigs opening for The Grassroots in Winnipeg and Saskatoon at the Centennial Concert Halls. The Grassroots played Winnipeg in August 1971.
Graham Jones was replaced in the band by Dennis Faraci on guitar. Dennis had played in a lot of bands, notably The Electric Jug and Blues Band.
The band didn't last much longer with Graham gone. He had been the heart and soul of the band. Once he was gone, there wasn't enough to keep us together.
After Home Cooking, Graham Jones joined Bootleg. They eventually moved to Calgary. Graham played in Moon Logic and The Wild Colonial Boys and operated a recording studio. He died in Calgary on the morning of his scheduled heart operation in June 1996, a victim of the cuts to the Alberta medical system.
Jim Hillman moved to Montreal in 1975 and became a very successful jazz drummer, lyricist, and band leader of the Merlin Factor and the Teresina Quartet.
Ron Lowe became a teacher and school principal and continued to dabble in music. He played for several years in the Biivver Band, currently regulars on the Winnipeg bar circuit.
Cate Cloak moved to Calgary. She played in several bands in a variety of styles, including Moon Logic, and did studio work.
Bruce Brautigan went on to work for the Federal Civil Service. He moved to Courtney BC.
The best things about Home Cooking? The vocals were strong with Cate and Graham on lead and Ron and occasionally Bruce on harmony. Bruce's guitar leads were often dazzling, musical and inspired. Graham could add harmonica or flute. At our best we rocked. A very musical group. In the beginning and in the end, friends.